Image via NextGen.

Any chef, cooking enthusiast, or simply hungry person knows that the knife is the most important tool in the kitchen. And Somerville startup NextGen believes yours should fit you perfectly.

For more than a few hundred years, the basic design of the chef’s knife has not changed. Knives are designed in a way that causes pressure to painfully build up in the pad and heel of the hand. Also, regular knives have not evolved to reflect the immense steel advances made in recent decades.

“I felt like as an engineer I could do better and I’m guessing that if that’s what this feels like it’s probably something wrong with the knife or the process,” Jeremy Fryer-Biggs, founder of NextGen, told BostInno. “I was thinking to myself, the handle is just wrong. Are there other areas within the knife that could be reexamined and could be better?”

NextGen’s San Sebastian knives address the shortcomings of others. Their NextGrip handles are the result of a year of research that observed how people hold knives and gathered data on emerging patterns in 3D models. This grip extends into the blade area to provide resting places for your thumb and index finger, reducing stress and pain. Their NextSteel blades are the culmination of work with premier U.S. knife steel manufacturer, Carpenter Technology Corporation.

Fryer-Biggs, who previously founded a 3D printing company as well as worked for “Myth Busters,” detailed this research process.

“We covered the handle and whole bottom end of the knife in clay. As people cut with the knife, their hands kind of mashed into the clay and formed natural shapes of how they were holding it.”

NextGen additionally gives the opportunity to customize a knife to your specific hand shape for maximum comfort. With the purchase of the San Sebastian Custom, you can use readily available technology like a scanner to create a knife unique to your own hand.

This week, NextGen launched their Kickstarter campaign with a goal of raising $25,000 by July 16. As of now, $7,961 has been raised by 44 backers.

“There are lots of knives…everyone of those styles works differently, is shaped differently, and is designed to be held differently and so I would love to not just have a single chef’s knife that has this particular design, but to take the concept of integrating how people naturally hold things and expand upon that into an entire line,” Fryer-Biggs added.

Photo courtesy of NextGen.